Twenty two Youth-workers meet in Armenia to initiate an intercultural dialogue on human rights, conflict transformation and to promote solidarity and peace building activities. Peace building initiatives has been addressed through critical thinking and non-formal educational workshops.
One of the most conflicted regions in the European continent – Caucasus region – was put into the microscope of conflict analysis seminar, which took place in Armenia on 29th March till 5th November 2017. Twenty two young people from Armenia, Georgia, Greece, Russian Federation, Croatia and Bulgaria gathered in Armenia as participants of the project “CRD – Conflict Resolution through Dialogue” and worked together to find and propose the most effective ways of planning grass root initiatives for development of European local communities.
Motivating youngsters (aged 18-40), who are having an active involvement as peacemakers in their home countries, was nominated as participants of CRD project. The group of participants is consisted of professionals or not who are having a direct working experience as social workers & street workers. These people are mostly employed as youth workers or social workers into social inclusion organizations/ associations.
“People like these enriched our project. They were sharing their insights and good practices on peace education field, since they had hands-on experience into the project’s topic. We have provided a creative learning environment for our colleagues and we have learned a lot, from theirs’ experience”
– V. Tsillas, organiser
During these 8 days of “Conflict Resolution through Dialogue” training course, participants had the chance to discuss current emerging issues, they shared good practices on how to preserve peace in their regions and how to promote peace-building initiatives.
During this mobility project, several artistic workshops has been implemented such as: video editing, theatre of the oppressed, digital storytelling & incentives on critical thinking & writing. The outcome of the project, a hands-on tutorial with shared good practices, has been uploaded to the web.
Furthermore, a short theater performance (flashmob), took place at the Republic square’s metro station. Participants of the CRD project, had the opportunity to visit Kapan town – a community at the southernmost edge of Armenia , on the borders with Iran. We had the opportunity to interact with the Syrian refugees, who have been hosted into this particular region.
Indeed, mass media is usually choosing the negative rhetoric on regional disputes, however, not everything is only black or white. Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding. Therefore, all participants of the project agreed on the fact that we need to spread peace initiatives and it would be a crime towards humanity if we were completely blind about it. Peaceful Resolution is the best solution. This was the main idea that was delivered during the project.
During one week of intensive Erasmus+ youth exchange, the strategy for employing active participation tool and methods, as well as stances & behaviours was created. One of the participants of the project, Dimitra Moumou from Greece, was particularly happy with her first mobility of youth-workers experience:
“Some good practices in the field of conflict transformation has been presented to the plenary. Additionally, we had the opportunity to discuss about conflicts and disputes on the working environment, personal & interpersonal level”.
– Dimitra from Katerini
The organizers of the project also evaluated these ideas as very promising and we also made a big effort into presenting good practises which has been addressed by Caucasus Cultural Centre, located in Athens, Greece.
In order to gain more knowledge and good practice on conflict transportation, the participants of the project were discussing about the threats and potentials that the EU external policies bring to the region, were creating interactive videos about the biggest prejudices regarding migration flows, were evaluating the current EU geostrategic balance and conducted research on peace building initiatives.
“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it”
Our main partner Academy of Innovation, from Krasnodar, Russian Federation wrote about the Conflict Resolution through Dialogue project:
International training course CRD gave opportunity to AI young activists, to share their experience in the field of conflict transformation.
The exchange aimed to offer an opportunity for young people to combine their experiential learning competences and negotiation techniques, which is a crucial skillset for conflict transformation.
Moreover the project aimed to empower Young People into taking an active involvement towards, peace building activities. This will be helpful not only for the project’s participants, but will also help in rehabilitation of conflicted societies.
Some of the participant’s feedback :
“I was informed about this project by a colleague of mine, few months ago and I have decided to submit my application form for this project. Maybe the reason is that now I’m in such a time in my life in which I really need it. Now I’m in the moment of my self-development and waiting for a change in my life. I’m working on myself now, I finally have
time to get deeper into myself, to participate in some human rights workshops, to get to know myself better, to change some of my “wrong” behaviours…and it makes me feel really well.”
“I wanted to try something new, to get some new skillsets. I was thinking to find my own style. I got informed about this project from my friend who invited me to join it.
I thought ” I can learn something new, get new skills, meet new people.” Besides the topic seemed extremely interesting to me: linking my academic background as a student of International Relations, with non-formal educational methodologies.
I was always looking for a training course on Peace Education. This seminar offered me insights on conflict transformation both in personal or organizational terms. I would like to extend my knowledge into this field, by attending a Training for Trainers course, as it was already suggested by the pool of trainers. But I have never done it. I hope that soon, I will be given the opportunity to attend such an intensive course.”
Check our Youtube Channels or Facebook Page for all the videos created during the project
Video #1: Created by the Russian delegates
Video #2: Created by the Georgian delegates
Video #3: Created by the project’s participants
Our participants, coming from Bulgarian Youth Association, Bulgaria wrote about the CRD project:
Once again it was proven to me that a week in this Erasmus multinational project can surpass our experience from the academic field. Everything is very intense….you meet a lot of people from different countries and cultures, you participate in many name games, energizers, workshops. During the evenings there are the intercultural evenings during which you have the possibility to share with the others your culture and traditions.
Being in this project was a very nice experience. We travelled in a beautiful country, we met a lot of beautiful people and, of course, we learned a lot of practical things about the topic. Our planet is in huge danger and we must learn how to face these difficulties by learning how to preserve peace. This is what this project gave us. One of the ways we can make a difference is by promoting active citizenship and educating youth to respond to social issues based upon critical thinking & active participation.
After participating in this project I am more and more aware about the importance of peace building initiatives. This is the reason why in my hometown I have some classes for kids – creative expression through artistic workshops and digital storytelling. Coming back home I was able to introduce some of the information learned in this project during my classes and also I added some new tools and techniques in my portfolio.
I recommend this kind of experience to everybody!
My team mates had also a very nice experience during this project. Here are some words written by them:
“It is a fact that humanity puts at risk the future of our planet. Civil wars, international military competition, financial recession, are merely few factors of the endagered worlwide balance. The CRD project aimed to raise awareness on conflict resolution and also promoted responsible behaviors. Although the theoretical knowledge is important, the project didn’t stop to peace building education, but we also had good practical workshops about current problems.”
Verzhin Hugasyan, Bulgaria
“From my point of view, this experience helped me to become more active citizen. Furthermore, I got new best friends and some of them came to visit me twice already. I can say that this was one of the best experiences in my life”
Sanja Culic, Croatia
You can find project-related material here:
- Participant certificates (YouthPasses) can be found HERE
- Wondering how all the awesome videos were created for the project? Check the ABC for Amateur Film-makers HERE; and the guidelines for video creation HERE.
- Want to join other Youth initiatives yourself? Go on an EVS! Find a project that suits you HERE.
- Teach Peace Foundation
- Peace Education in Unicef
- University for Peace
- Peace Organisation
MEDIA ABOUT US
It is hard to follow all the project’s coverage on the Internet; however, here are some examples (list is being constantly updated):
- #CRD_2016 hashtag
- Conflict Resolution Training
- Dissemination of project’s objectives, through Salto Resources Centre: https://www.salto-youth.net/tools/european-training-calendar/training/training-course-conflict-resolution-through-dialogue.6325/
- Dissemination of project’s outcomes, from the Russian partner: http://academy-of-innovation.com/portfolio/
- Presentation of the partner organization Youth Association of Bulgaria, at CRD project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9WUmF3hSQo
- The Youth workers from Italy, have supported a similar initiative: http://www.associazioneabici.eu/erasmus/item/29-the-voice-of-generation-y.html
- The Youth workers from Western Balkans, have supported a similar initiative at their region: http://www.mladivolonteri.org/category/erasmus/
- YiA 18, Announcement of the project
- The Georgian delegates, have created their own report for the project: https://www.peaceinsight.org/conflicts/georgia/peacebuilding-organisations/youth-association-droni/
The list is being updated still.